After he introduced his budget in December 2014, Jay Inslee told his critics to “buck up” and to accept his proposed historic spending and tax increases. Inslee’s $39 billion budget included a spending increase of 15.4%, new taxes to the tune of $1.5 billion and a generous dipping ($600 million) into the state’s revenue reserves—including $450 million from the state’s rainy day fund.
Though the state budget did not ultimately include new taxes, Inslee has not given up on his tax hike agenda. Inslee kicked off the 2015 legislatives session calling for new taxes, and he ended the session calling for new taxes.
Given the fact that Inslee’s tax hike agenda is ongoing, it’s prudent to evaluate how it has evolved. The Washington Policy Center offers a timeline of events,
“At the time the Governor was calling for net tax increases of $1.4 billion…
“In May, however, a continued improving economy led the Governor to say that his $1.4 billion tax proposal was no longer needed though he wasn’t able to say how large of tax package he thought was still necessary for the budget.
“By June the Governor said that his proposed capital gains income tax was off the table and instead the Legislature would need to focus on closing unspecified tax preferences.”
Essentially, Inslee was proved wrong. And, in the end, he was forced to admit what Republicans were saying all along: burdening working families with higher taxes is entirely unnecessary to meet our state’s funding requirements. Interestingly enough, the timeline of events also reveals Inslee’s stunning lack of pull among members of his own party. The Washington Policy Center,
“With the exception of changing the B&O tax rate for royalties, neither the House nor Senate voted on any of the other tax increases originally proposed by the Governor (several House committees did but not the full House).”
If there is anything the 2015 legislative session has proved, it is that Inslee is an ineffective and irrelevant governor.